New Year’s Eve

Welcoming in The New Year has changed considerably as my family has grown up…

When we were in our “pre-children phase” my husband and I used to head into the city and join the multitudes for the music and fireworks.

When our children were babies we had New Year’s Eve parties with friends, who were similarly encumbered by small children, in each other’s backyards. We were all armed with baby monitors so we could listen to our sleeping children inside.

As the children grew, we found babysitters who were willing to watch them for us (at an exorbitant rate) while we headed off into town to join the multitudes for the music and fireworks.

Unfortunately, when we did this, we also suffered the guilt of feeling like neglectful parents when the kids demanded to know why couldn’t they go with us? I mean how do you tell your own child that you want to have some fun without him?

Now that my children are teenagers it’s a different story. They definitely don’t want to share New Year’s Eve with us.

The idea of even spotting their aged, uncool parents in a New Year’s crowd is enough to send them spiralling into a black depression. Let alone the unmitigated shame they would suffer if we actually spoke to them in front of their friends!.

Anyway, my youngest tried come up with a solution yesterday to ensure that we would not to be within 10km of him at any time from sunset to sunrise. The “Oldies” (his father and I) could have a party at home with our friends and he would go into the city OR we could go out ourselves and leave the house to him so that he could throw a party. I don’t think so ….

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The Christmas Mass Surrender

I used to go to Midnight Mass every Christmas with my grandfather and I really wanted to revive that tradition within my own family.  So one year I announced that the entire family would be attending Midnight Mass at Christmas together.

First of all I had to counter my husband’s excuses by agreeing that we would attend a Christmas Eve service at 7pm rather than at midnight, and then I offered the ultimate family bribery: dinner at MacDonald’s beforehand.

The family weren’t overly enthusiastic but they did agree eventually so off we trooped to Christmas Mass. The church was packed with people and so incredibly hot that the church doors were left open to the garden beyond in the vain hope of getting some air to circulate.

My daughter, who was 13 at the time, was going through her hippie stage. She positioned herself lotus-style outside, and proceeded to chant her version of a Buddhist mantra, as a protest as being forced to attend church.

My 3-year-old son was terribly excited, and ran around exclaiming loudly at the nativity scene and the decorations. And then he noticed the candles… After demanding to know whose birthday it was, he proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday” at the top of his voice, non-stop.

My husband sat there laughing helplessly, with tears running down his face. I hurriedly gathered up my disorderly brood and departed, vowing to try again another year… But, perhaps at another church, where they didn’t know us.